Jump to content

My Muses Need A Compass!

Recommended Posts

So...somehow I got a fun story idea, something different, and I was enthused.

So cool, I sat down to write it out, the story, without jotting down notes. After all, it was supposed to be a short story.

Somehow, the moment I started writing, an entirely different story was coming out, more serious, different characters, not really related to the idea I sat down to write.

My muses need a compass. Or...something.

Now, the story I was actually writing might be a good one. It seems like it has promise. But I am not sure what's in there, just that I have three or four characters so far, and there's a setup that needs further characters...and a story problem/conflict and resolution in order to have a story.... But yeah, it seems like there's something there.

However, that still means the other story, the one I sat down to write, didn't get started yet. So before I go to sleep, and risk forgetting the story idea, I've gotta write down enough so I don't lose track. It's just that I don't feel like pulling an all-nighter, despite it being the weekend, so I can't write the whole thing right now.

What really mystifies me is, here I had the one story, intending to write that, and I start writing and something entirely different pops out. About the only thing in common was the setting. Clearly, the muses are really having fun with me on this one. I've never had an experience so completely different in story writing before. I mean, there was always a lot of connection between what I started and how it ended up as I went along. Even if I've sat down with several different story ideas to write notes or scenes, I've always known pretty much what I wanted to write, even if it changes as I write, which does usually happen.

But this, having an idea for one story, and having something else entirely come out...weird, I don't get it. -- I'm not necessarily complaining. I get the feeling the one I actually started writing has potential. What or where it's going, not sure, but it seems good. The other, the story I was sitting down to write, I think will be good too. I want to get it down good before bed. It is just very strange for the two to be so completely unrelated.

Uh, and no, I don't mean either idea was heading for NC-17, freak yourself out territory. Both of these should be pretty solidly PG-13 or PG. The one is likely G-Rated, even.

But yeah, given the idea for the one versus the other...way, way different. :: shrugs ::

Um, by the way, I have to look up when you plant and when you harvest for carrots or potatoes. (Also for celery, just to have a shout out to Carrots and Celery, a story I only got to read a few chapters of, many years ago now.) -- And I might need a weed whacker.

Link to comment

In two words: Save Everything

There are no bad story ideas, just incomplete thoughts. Write them down, save them for a rainy day and your muse will be happy. I am sure any of the authors here will tell you that a writer's hard drive often contains more incomplete story starts than complete work. I have whole files filled with one, two or ten pages of something I started to write and then abandoned. Our future files are a gold mine of ideas yet to be used. And guess what...its raining here.

Link to comment
Guest Dabeagle

What he said. I actually keep an 'Idea File' of things that occur to me, scenes that pop to mind or whatnot. It's kind of like leftovers, you never know what they'll turn up in.

Link to comment

My story folder is so full of stories that have been abandoned, that I had to rename it, "Stories-working".

Then I created a folder called, "Stories-completed",...it is much smaller.

Despite this attempt to be tidy and organised, I seem to have a flotilla of files with nothing more than an opening paragraph, of some long lost idea for a story that makes no sense to me any more.

Should I clean them up and delete them? Nah, let someone else have that fun, I have to create more of them anyway. :evilgrin:

Link to comment

Yup, I have whole directories full of various vague ideas, half-starts, and sometimes five or ten pages of stories that haven't been finished. I never get rid of them. I've too often gone back and found great thoughts and ideas from there, and once or twice managed to come back to a story that suddenly grows legs and demands to be finished.

Link to comment

I once had a case where I got partway into a story, got blocked, so I jumped ahead and started another chapter from the middle of the novel. Once I got that out of my head, I was able to go back and finish the previous chapters, and all was well.

Sometimes, there is no direct course to the process of telling a story. I would also advise Blue, sometimes it's interesting for a fun story to take a left turn and get serious for awhile. Maybe that will give it the dramatic spin it needs to work.

Some of the novels and films that have affected me the most were those that started off as one kind of story, then took a left turn and completely changed gears. I really like that, if only to throw the audience off-balance and make them see, "whoa, this was not what I was expecting!" That can be a very good thing.

Link to comment

Like GW, my computer is filled with story ideas that never seem to get completed. But they are a source of ideas for me to start more story ideas that will never get finished.

Time is my enemy.

Whenever I've gotten stuck, I try to remember where I wanted to story to go, and then wrote the last chapter. That gave me focus on completing the Middle.

Link to comment

I once had a case where I got partway into a story, got blocked, so I jumped ahead and started another chapter from the middle of the novel. Once I got that out of my head, I was able to go back and finish the previous chapters, and all was well.

I give people that advice all the time, and use it myself. It really works. Usually when I get blocked in the middle of a story it's because I don't know at that exact spot what to write next. I don't have it figured out. So, go to a place further along in the story that you do know what's what, write it, and then you have a place to aim for from the block. It makes it much easier.


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...